Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dogfish Head: Aprihop

Hmmm... let's think this through. On one hand, its a hoppy beer, which is usually a very good thing. On the other hand, it has a fruit in it's title, which is usually a very bad thing.

But keeping to form, Dogfish Head has produced yet another tasty treat of a beer. The Aprihop is an interesting blend of hops and fruits. I'm kind of impartial on the subject of apricots, but I'm a big big fan of hops.

When first opened, the fruity aroma is quite prevalent. At the first sip, the hops are immediately present with the fruity/apricot flavor pulling up the rear. I've gotta say though, the marriage between the two is quite good. The taste wasn't quite as powerful as the aroma, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I actually thought it was close to perfectly balanced with neither the hops nor the fruit dominating. I wanted to like this beer because I'm a big Dogfish fan, and I'm glad I was proven correct. And with a hearty 7%abv, it'll also put a smile on your face after a long day of work.
I originally planned on giving this beer a very solid 3.5, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. So I cracked open another bottle and decided to go ahead and give it a 4. To me, a 4 is something you won't be disappointed with, something that you won't hesitate to buy again, and something that you'll get the occasional craving for, and this fits all of those.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pick Axe Pale Ale, Tommyknocker Brewery, Idaho Springs, Co.

I have had a pretty good few weeks in the free beer department; it's almost as if Karma is helping me out after dumping all that cash on the Utopias. My amigo Downtown, gifted me some Tommyknocker Pick Axe Pale Ale and I feel quite indebted to him. It's been awhile since I've enjoyed a good American Pale and I was definitely looking forward to putting this one into a tall glass. The Pick Axe poured a nice orange brown color with modest head. The beer led off with a bitter hop first impression, melding into a caramel apple malt hop combination. Finishing with a crisp tasting, solid even bitterness. The Tommyknocker is a great example of how American Pale Ales should be constructed. The 6.2% ABV only solidifies this beer’s standing. Now only if I can get Downtown to gift me a few more! The Pick Axe Pale Ale gets a 4.0

Friday, April 23, 2010

Copper Hook Spring Ale, Redhook Brewery, Portsmouth, NH

Based on past experience, I usually avoid Redhook Brewery products, as I find myself disliking them. But a good copper ale is one of my favorite things, and I decided to give the Redhook Copper Hook a try. My mistake...

The color is a very nice copper/amber, but the aroma and taste are awash with caramel maltiness, almost like they tried to make a beer to replicate a Sugar Daddy. There is a touch of hop bitterness to combat the sweet caramel flavor, but not nearly enough. The caramel hit is especially jarring in the first sip, but that might be expectation vs. reality.

The beer is easy to drink, if you can stomach the sweetness, with an ABV of 5.8%.

I'm curious to see if the west coast version of this beer (which is served year-round) is different than the east coast version (which is a spring seasonal). For the record, I'm drinking the east coast seasonal version.

Rating = 1.5

I guess this one reaffirms my personal feelings on Redhook...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Purple Haze: Abita Brew

Well, another week, and another beer.
Abita Beer's Purple Haze is a raspberry wheat malt beer. I know what you're thinking, fruit beers are never good. And for the most part you'd be right with that statement, and this one doesn't do a whole lot to disprove that.

Once I saw it was from Louisiana though, I thought, this beer has to be good. Mostly because I went to a bachelor party once in New Orleans and that place was fantastic, so why wouldn't a beer from that fantastic place also be great? That being said, there wasn't really a whole lot to it. Not a whole lot of aroma (smelled like any other nondescript wheat beer), not a whole lot of taste, and only a slight taste of raspberry. The color was an orangey/cloudy combination. Not that I was expecting a whole lot, but I was expecting more. It reminded me of your everyday domestic beer really. I wouldn't turn down another one if it was handed to me at a barbecue, but I don't see myself picking up another sixer any time soon either. It's 4.2%abv, doesn't exactly knock your socks off either.

So not surprisingly, I'm going to give it a 2. It is what it is, just another beer.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Orange Blossom Original Ale, Buckbean Brewing Co., Reno, Nevada

With the temperatures in the sixties and the cherry blossoms in full bloom in DC, I decided to crack a brew on my porch and enjoy a lazy Sunday evening. Looking for something light, I picked out the Buckbean Brewing Orange Blossom Original Ale, breaking my unwritten rule of reviewing the same brewer twice in a row.

Cracking open the can, I was overwhelmed with the scent of oranges. I poured the orange brown elixir into my stein and went to work, that's if you consider sipping beers in wicker chairs working. And work it was, the orange blossom water dominated this beer, and my palette could not stand up to the onslaught of orange.

I had hoped the beer would resemble a light summery ale, instead I got something that resembles one of those Belgians I have a hard time with. Perhaps the hefeweizen and Belgian lovers would find this style more appealing, however I did not. It is very rare that I can't finish a beer, and this I couldn't make it more than halfway through.

The Orange Blossom Original Ale has a 5.2% ABV, and it receives the lowest rating I've given in a long time, 0.5.

I have another Buckbean Brewing beer in my fridge. I hope it resembles the Black Noddy Lager more than the Orange Blossom.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Island Creek Oyster Stout, Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series beers were generally very good? I found an exception: Island Creek Oyster Stout.

Like most stouts, this one is dark brown/black with a thin tan head. There is a striking aroma of the ocean - primarily driven by the smell of salt water. This aroma sensation carries over into the taste, as the first thing you taste is tinged with salt. Happily, the salty flavor is quickly washed away by the taste of a half-decent stout, followed by a lightly hopped aftertaste. There is some unpleasant metallic flavor as well, unfortunately.

Comparing this oyster stout to the recently reviewed Flying Fish offering, I definitely give the nod to Flying Fish. I don't know if their oysters are better or not, but their beer definitely is.

Rating = 2.0

Interesting, but unspectacular...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Haverhill Brewery: Homerun APA

Remember when you were a little kid, and on Christmas morning you'd sprint down those stairs to open up your presents? As you sat there ripping off wrapping paper there was always that inevitable disappointment when you opened up the socks, thinking it was a Transformer. Well that kind of sums up how I felt about the Homerun American Pale Ale.

Don't get me wrong, it's fine enough, it's just that I was expecting more I guess. Haverhill Brewery is a local brewery (for me at least), which made me want to love it that much more (gotta support the local guys right). It was good, just not knock your aforementioned socks off good.
I was expecting lots of hops, and got maybe one hop. Nothing about the flavor, aroma or color jumped out at me. The only thing I really noticed was the aftertaste which wasn't all that great and just wouldn't go away. The best thing about this beer? The label... can't go wrong there. Next time, I suggest they put more effort into their beer though, and less into the advertising (although I guess it worked on me). I'm going to give the beer a blah 2. Sure it's beer, it'll get the job done, but I won't be running out to grab another six pack.